When West Genesee flexed its muscles in the second half of Wednesday’s Section III Class A boys lacrosse championship game, Fayetteville-Manlius began to search for the answer it would never find, leading it to a 12-10 loss that made for a disappointing end to Doug Madden’s first year as head coach.
Three fourth quarter goals from Jack Shanley put Fayetteville-Manlius in prime position to overcome the frustrating start and get the 8-7 win over Baldwinsville that reserved its spot in Wednesday’s sectional final at Cicero-North Syracuse, where it will face rival West Genesee.
The last time it took the field, Fayetteville-Manlius put on a clinic and beat Syracuse, 20-2. Five days later, it did the same, went out without mercy, and opened postseason play with a 19-3 home win over Rome Free Academy (8-9, 5-4).
Having the 39 goals in the past two games has put F-M (10-7, 5-5) prime position to show up in the Section III Class A semifinal against Baldwinsville, but besides the big win that saw Chris Lubrino tack on five goals and four assists despite only playing in the first half, the Hornets have a variety of things to get them ready for round three with the Bees.
Although its coaches thought it should have imposed its will a little sooner, Fayetteville-Manlius found a way to take over in the second quarter and won big against Syracuse on Senior Night.
The 20-2 victory was huge for the Hornets, as it snapped a two-game skid and was their seventh win in nine games. This is going to allow them to go into the postseason amped up from the fact that their offense has tons of potential when it’s on, and the defense can be competitive with anybody.
A promising first quarter didn’t mean much to Fayetteville-Manlius when things unraveled in the second half and handed it a 8-4 home loss to Victor on Saturday.
After the Hornets opened with the 3-0 spurt in that first quarter, their offense disappeared and wasn’t able to bounce back at all. Their strong defense was able to keep the ship afloat for the time being, only allowing a goal in the second quarter, but after halftime, nothing seemed to go their way, as Victor scored seven goals to their one.
When Fayetteville-Manlius scored with 4:02 left in the first half to expand its lead to 5-1, all it had to do was play the lockdown defense it had showcased up until that point and get to halftime, but it lost track of Max Rosa with 13.2 left and gave up the goal that turned this game around.
Eighty-five seconds into the second half, Chris Lubrino gave Fayetteville-Manlius a three-goal advantage and began an 8-1 run that leaked into the fourth quarter and guided it to the 15-7 road win over Syracuse.
It was just what the Hornets, who have now won six straight, needed at the time, as it gave them the hope that helped them believe they were going to show they were the much better boys lacrosse team despite the rough start that allowed Syracuse to compete with them in the first half.
Five minutes or so before halftime, Nick Papa was going in on goal and thought about taking the easy shot, but flipped it behind his head to a cutting Jack Shanley for a goal, giving Fayetteville-Manlius a temporary 4-3 lead that eventually turned into an 8-6 win over Pittsford.
The sound of the final buzzer meant that Fayetteville-Manlius had officially beaten Cicero-North Syracuse, 11-5, and it was time to sprint to the goalkeeper.
But, though the Hornets have rushed their goalie many times before, it was different this time around. They were running out to celebrate not only the victory and the excitement it would typically bring along, but to also celebrate the save that Andrew Testani made in the closing seconds.
In the middle of the third quarter, Brian Jones gave Fayetteville-Manlius all the confidence it needed to squeak out the 8-7 home win over Liverpool.
As Jones surveyed the field on that possession, none of his teammates had a good look at the goal and the idea of being knotted in a 6-6 battle was creating a sense of urgency for the Hornets. Spectators were beginning to look at the scoreboard and envision a possible comeback, his teammates on the sideline were nervously cheering him and the offense on, and his coaches were gradually picking up the intensity.